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Living far away from family


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Hey guys,


Since probably 99% of you are living in countries way bigger than The Netherlands, I expect many will recognize my situation. Or laugh and say 'far'? What do you mean 'far'!!?


Anyways, I was born in the West of the Netherlands, in a big city just next to the North Sea. With the exception of one uncle and his family, the whole family lives in that city and has lived there for many generations. When I was 18, I moved about 60 km away from that city, to the middle of the country. Both this city and my original city belong to an area in the Netherlands that is commonly seen as a whole, the rest of the country is more divided in provincial parts with their relatively big cities. During my time as a student I first went home every weekend, then every two weekends, then once a month or a bit more frequent (I was already working in the last years).


Early in 2006 I got an offer for a position at another university for a PhD project. This university is 300 km up north from my old city. I have lived here for almost 2 years now, and a couple of months ago, my bf moved here too- he found a position at my university too. We moved into a new house with the help of my family and his.


The problem is that ever since I moved here, I have felt left out in family meetings, dinners, celebrations, etc. This years Sinterklaas (a Dutch tradition, comparable for what US people do for Christmas) is a typical example- I called in Monday to hear that they were going to celebrate it together on the day itself (5th of December, yesterday). When I was still studying in the other city they'd postpone it to a weekend or integrate it with Christmas. Now they didn't even consider to ask me and my bf to come. The same was for the b-day party of my aunt and a dinner they had last year. With 'they' I mean my parents, my sister (26 y/o) and the two aunts that our family is particularly close with.


It's bad enough that it's 6 hours traveling to see them, but why are they deciding FOR me that I don't want to take that trouble or spend that money on train tickets? I feel very excluded and don't know how to address this at home without making them feel like they should ask me every time they plan something.


How are your experiences, and (how) did you resolve issues related to living relatively far away?



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I'd be positive about it - that is, let them know that you really enjoy being part of family celebrations and events and that you'd like to be involved more often. And that sometimes you may not be able to make it because of the distance, but that if you know enough time ahead that you can plan to join them.


Agreed - 6 hours is nothing - I live a 28 hour flight away from my family.

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LOL, I know


In a way, though, distance is relative to the size of ones country. For them (even for me myself), I have moved to the point where you can't live further away and still live in the same country.


8000 miles? How often do you see your parents/other family?


Thnx for your reply

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I only live two hours away from my family (which is moot anyway, because I'm so important that they sold the house and are moving to my new city, haha) but I agree that the best way to approach this is to let them know you're still extremely interested in being invited. And be sure to keep in touch with e-mails (or cards/letters, even better) so that you aren't "forgotten".


I know it's hard. Where I am now is the most distance I've ever had between myself and "home" and even though it's nothing compared to your situation, the feeling of isolation is similar.


Good luck!

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@ Yodabell and Jayar: Yeah, the positive approach will probably really work out. See, the sad feeling clouded my vision and all I was thinking was how they'd feel obliged to invite me all the times- because of course I complicate matters for them and it was MY choice to move away after all. I know they miss me too and probably don't want to make me feel guilty every time I have to say 'no'.


@ Thornbirds: I can't imagine seeing parents and family only once every two years... that can't be easy!

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